If it’s quiet, relaxing jazz to read by you’re after, keep moving. These guys are ripping and noisy on most of these tracks. I can practically see my neighbors’ anger through the walls when I play this, Gerry Mulligan’s sax just slices through, I’m sure. At times, Dave Brubeck is literally banging on the keys. It can be brutal at times, but it’s fun.
The first two tracks, “Out of Nowhere” and “Mexican Jumping Bean,” are just that.
Two back-to-back numbers, “The Duke” and “New Orleans,” appear in the middle to substantially cool things off. The latter stretches out to just beyond the 16-minute mark and contains sparkling, swinging, patient solos from the headliners and support alike that would make Paul Gonsalves proud.*
It might sound obvious, but if you’re a fan of drum solos, make sure to check out “Indian Song.” Drummer Alan Dawson goes it alone for over three minutes on this second set number.
Come to think of it, this is a good album to put on at a party. Gets it moving at the beginning, then settles in for dinner and conversation before livening back up and sending people out the door with a sweet Lullaby of a goodnight.
Just make sure your guests are pretty sophisticated jazz heads. I suppose with the right mixture it could work, but an all-night college dance partay this is not.
Fans of the band Phish should likewise give this set a hard listen, as it contains many of the attributes, ups and downs, and just as much inspiration and improvisation, as any Phish concert (I’ve been to dozens).
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*Saxophonist Paul Gonsalves played a 27-chorus solo during “Diminuendo in Blue” with Duke Ellington at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. It is arguably the most famous solo in live jazz history, and part of an overall concert performance that many credit as reviving Ellington’s career.